Did writing this book cause you to have any nightmares? Did it cause you to wake up in the middle of the night with things you just had to write down?
I didn’t have nightmares in the sense that I was afraid because I was writing about vampires and witches. I did have some sleepless nights because I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters, the story, the plot…all of it. It’s fair to say I was obsessed with this story when I was writing it. I had written previous novels, but I don’t think I was ever so consumed with something I was writing before Her Dear & Loving Husband
. A few times I did get up and grab my notebook to add some midnight ideas.
Which character was your favorite? Your least favorite? Why?
I love them all…James, Sarah, Olivia, Jennifer, Timothy, even Geoffrey. If I have to pick one favorite, I would have to choose James for a couple of reasons. First, he was the idea from which the whole story grew. I started thinking about this vampire who mourned his dead wife but then learned to love again, and that vampire turned out to be James. Second, James is like my alter ego in this story. Of all the characters in Her Dear & Loving Husband
, James is the one who is most like me. His personality, the fact that he’s an English professor, the way he thinks about things—he gets a lot of that from me. My least favorite was definitely Kenneth Hempel. I didn’t care for the way he treated James.
Which scene was your favorite? Your least favorite? Why?
One particular favorite is the scene where James and his father John are reunited after James is turned into a vampire. John’s unconditional love for his son shines through. How would your family react to you if you were turned into an undead bloodsucker? John loves his son even if he is a vampire. We should all be so lucky.
My least favorite scenes are the ones with Kenneth Hempel. I love James and Sarah so much, and it was hard writing the scenes where Hempel is trying to expose James’s secret, or at least trying to get James to confess his vampire truth. As a writer, my characters are my babies, and I don’t want them to suffer even though they have to sometimes. What is a story without conflict? I think the Hempel scenes are important, but they were not fun to write.
How long did it take you to decide on the title of your book? Were there other titles that you considered?
For the first year I worked on the book, the original title was The Vampire’s Wife
. For all that time I loved the title and didn’t have any sense that I would change it. When I had the book professionally critiqued, the reviewer suggested changing the title because she thought The Vampire’s Wife
gave too much away. I’m still not sure I agree that the title gives too much away, but I started to wonder if the title should be changed after all. When I came across the poem “To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet the bells and whistles started ringing. The poem plays an important role in the story, and it gave me the revised title—Her Dear & Loving Husband.
When did you realize that you wanted to write?
I was lucky enough that in school I had teachers who told me I was a good writer. I decided I wanted to be a serious writer, as in wanting to be published, when I was in college getting my degrees in English literature. After I finished my M.A. degree, I began writing novels, and that has been my focus ever since.